Tattoo "Stealing"... Acceptable Or Not?
Copycat tattoos, what's acceptable and what isn't...
Tattoo "stealing". Let me preface this article by saying that I have been on the fence with this topic for a while, and I'm going to spare our readers the drama by further referring to it as "copying".
A friend sent me this video blog that is recently getting some attention on YouTube, about tattoo stealing. Katrin Berndt (the video blogger) is outraged that someone had the audacity to want her same tattoo. Katrin makes a point that a reputable tattooer, who respects the art of tattooing enough will not copy someone else's tattoo - which I find to be a rather idealistic statement.
I've seen both sides of the spectrum (from both an artists standpoint, and also having a tattoo of mine copied) and find that I am able to weigh in on this topic without bias.
This type of situation emerges on daily basis. Having worked in one of New York City's premiere tattoo shops for the better part of 5 years, I will tell you guys quite honestly (and with little exception) that every artist has at some point made a rendition of Miley Cyrus' script "Breathe" or any Rihanna tattoo ("Shhh" on the finger, numerals on the collarbone, stars behind the neck...) at least 60 times over. In a perfect world a client would come in with a piece of reference, and say "I love this tattoo and want something similar, not the same." but it doesn't always happen that way.
The first thing any reputable artist might suggest is that they will take inspiration from a reference, but you will get your own custom piece - so as not to copy someone else's; But sometimes it just works out that the client is the one paying, and if they want it exact, they want it exact.
It might not be the most ideal job, and these artists may not be posting the finished work, but requests for those kind of tattoos come in on the daily, and as a business it would be unfavorable to reject paying customers. Ultimately, it's the clients money and it's the clients body, and we all have to pay rent at the end of the day.
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Tattooing is above all and anything an art form. But it's sacrality has been diluted over the years due to websites like Pinterest, and general media overshare. As far as custom tattoos go, if you are adamant about not having your tattoos copied it's as simple as not posting them on social media to 57,000 people who are following because they like your look.
In the end we all agree, it's only a big deal if one makes the choice to get butt hurt about it - or not.
But we'll let you guys weigh in as well...